Feb 20, 2013

Major Project Facilitation Status for the FiSH™ Project

I have granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to the National Ports Corporation’s Field Support Hub (FiSH®) project given its potential to assist in the development of remote resource projects around Australia.

The FiSH project is a world first and involves the construction and deployment of a large scale floating logistics facility that would effectively operate like a floating port.

By declaring the project “strategically significant”, I am directing my department to do what they can to assist the company navigate and wherever possible, streamline the required planning and environmental approval processes. This declaration does not however guarantee a successful outcome in these processes or the commercial success of a project.

If approved, the floating port would offer resource companies an innovative logistics solution in the construction phase of their projects.

Early site works for green field projects are often constrained by remoteness, bottlenecks at existing ports and lack of local infrastructure.

The FiSH brings the port and supply base to remote developments. In practice, building materials could be delivered to the FiSH then offloaded to shore by barge, as resource companies require, cutting the cost and time associated with getting major projects underway.

The FiSH could also be redeployed to support resource developments anywhere in Australia.

Fully operational, the 300 metre floating port would provide 34,000 square metres of laydown area, customs and quarantine facilities, accommodation for 200 people and multiple shipping berths.

From an environmental perspective, the FiSH reduces the need for marine dredging as well as the need for conventional port infrastructure to be built in in environmentally sensitive coastal areas.

The project will employ hundreds of people during construction and around 200 people when the facility is in place.

The Federal Labor Government has granted or renewed MPF status to projects worth around $160 billion with the potential to create over 40,000 jobs across the vital sectors of infrastructure, mining and resources, and advanced manufacturing.

 

BACKGROUND

The Major Project Facilitation program is administered by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport.

Under the program, the Department provides project proponents with a facilitation service to achieve quick and timely assistance from the Australian Government.  The service ensures:

  • Access to information on government approval processes;
  • All relevant government processes are coordinated, including those of state and territory governments, so that as far as possible they occur simultaneously and without duplication;
  • Government agencies respond promptly to issues raised by the project proponent during the approval process; and
  • Assistance in identifying and accessing government programs is provided.

MPF status does not imply any Government guarantee for the commercial success or otherwise of the project, nor does it absolve the project from meeting less than the full statutory and other requisite criteria of relevant approval processes.

Proponents may apply to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport for MPF status if their proposed project meets the following three criteria:

  1. The project is of strategic significance to Australia:
    • The project will significantly boost Australian industry innovation.
      a)    Increasing research and development (R&D) and commercialisation capability; and/or
      b)    A new application of skills and knowledge; and/or
      c)    Technology transfer; and/or
      d)    Cluster development.
    • Or, the project will have significant net economic benefit for regional Australia, taking account of a region’s investment needs.
    • Or, the project’s estimated investment exceeds A$50 million or makes a significant contribution to economic growth, employment and/or infrastructure.
  2. It requires Australian Government approval(s) in order to proceed and/or significant Australian Government involvement through, for example, federal programs.
  3. It has sufficient financial resources to complete the Australian Government approval(s) process and has demonstrated commercial viability.

Further details on the program are available from the Major Project Facilitation Unit within the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, GPO Box 594, CANBERRA, 2601 or telephone +61 2 6274 6684.

MPF Website